Frequently asked facet syndrome questions answered by Laser Spine Institute

At Laser Spine Institute, our medical professionals are happy to answer all types of questions about facet syndrome. If you believe that you have facet syndrome or have already been diagnosed with this chronic spine condition, below you’ll find answers to the frequently asked questions we receive.

Q. What is facet syndrome?

A. Facet syndrome is a condition that affects the facet joints in the spine. Like the other joints of your body, the spine’s facet joints are coated with cartilage that allows the bone surfaces to slide past each other as the joint moves. Cartilage can wear away in a condition known as osteoarthritis. When it affects the facet joints, in particular, it is called facet disease or facet syndrome.

Q. What causes facet syndrome?

A. Although the precise causes of facet syndrome are yet unknown, researchers have noted some risk factors associated with developing the condition. One such factor is aging; osteoarthritis is more common among people who are older than 45 years. Facet syndrome is also connected to traumatic injuries, including those sustained in car accidents or in high-impact sports like football.

Q. What are the symptoms of facet syndrome?

A. Facet syndrome can cause a number of symptoms, with the most common being pain localized to the area around the damaged joint. Patients often report dull aching in their necks or backs, and some experience a grinding sensation caused by bone-on-bone contact. This continual rubbing can lead to the growth of bone spurs, which are tiny protrusions that can compress neighboring nerves and contribute to radiating pain, weakness or numbness that affects the extremities.

Q. What are some facet syndrome conservative treatment options?

A. In many cases, arthritic issues leading to facet syndrome can be managed by using a combination of conservative treatment methods, including:

  • Over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory and pain medications
  • Behavior modification, such as avoiding heavy lifting and being mindful of posture
  • Physical therapy or chiropractic manipulation
  • Corticosteroid injections

Many patients are able to gain control of their symptoms within several weeks or months of starting such a treatment regimen.

Q. Will I need facet syndrome surgery?

A. There is a small percentage of patients who find that nonsurgical techniques aren’t enough to keep their pain and other symptoms at bay. If you are one of them, Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive spine surgeries might be a suitable option to help you find relief. Contact us to learn about our procedures and to request a no-cost review of your MRI report or CT scan.*

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief. Our surgeons use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques which results in a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Reach out to our dedicated team today to learn if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.